“In 2016, Oxford declared its Word of the Year to be “post-truth” after it saw a 2000% increase in usage. How do executives or at least older people make their way in a post-truth world? Leaning on your Millennials is one helpful approach.
Post-truth is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion that appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Some have attributed its recent popularity to the sort of anti-establishment and emotion-driven politics that gave rise to the election of President Trump and the Brexit decision. However, we believe that the post-truth world we find ourselves in is the result of greater phenomena. On one hand, growing income inequality has led to widespread frustration. Feeling shortchanged by the system, many people are susceptible to reactionary thinking. On the other, the constant barrage of information and opinions enabled by the internet and a 24-hour news cycle is not only disorienting, but also makes it difficult to discern between what is ‘news’ and what is ‘opinion.’
This confusion has led to a decline in trust. A 2016 Gallup poll has found that the American trust in mass media has fallen to an all-time low. Public distrust makes sense when we consider a Postmodern worldview. Why should people accept what they are told by mainstream sources when they have direct access to the ‘real’ world through the user-generated content that pervades the media? We have the ability at our fingertips to find evidence or opinions supporting any and all narratives. Why would we want to accept universal ‘truths’ or ‘facts’, especially those that contradict our opinions? But as irritating as a post-truth world may seem, we sense that Millennials may be the best guides to navigating it.”
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